Pacific Pinball Museum

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Pacific Pinball Museum
Pinball 3web.jpg
The Majorettes pinball machine at the Pacific Pinball Museum
Pacific Pinball Museum is located in the US
Pacific Pinball Museum
Location of Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda
Established 2004 (2004)
Location Alameda, California, USA
Coordinates 37°46′25″N 122°16′36″W / 37.773738°N 122.276583°W / 37.773738; -122.276583
Type Pinball machines
Director Michael Schiess

The Pacific Pinball Museum is a museum that showcases the history of pinball machines since 1879. The museum is located in Alameda, California, in the United States.[1][2]


The visible pinball machine, co-created by museum owner Michael Schiess based on the pinball machine Surf Champ by Gottlieb from 1976

The museum was founded in 2004 by Michael Schiess, a former museum exhibition designer. Schiess started collecting pinball machines in 2001.[1] He decided to open his own museum after being unimpressed with the coverage of pinball history at other museums.[3] One of his first major acquisitions was thirty-six machines in one purchase. Fourteen of them were installed in a rented room, which Schiess called Lucky Ju Ju, in Alameda and a jar was placed out for donations. In 2004 the facility expanded and became a nonprofit, renaming itself the Pacific Pinball Museum. The museum expanded in 2009 displaying forty woodrail and wedge head machines from the collection of Larry Zartarian.[4] The museum has a gift shop that sells pinball themed merchandise. It also has a museum board, and two additional staff members besides Schiess.[5]


The museum's exhibitions include approximately ninety pinball machines ranging from 1879 until today.[2] They are arranged in chronological order.[4] In total, Schiess' collection comprises 800 machines. Those not on display are maintained at an 8,000-square-foot secret location.[1] Upon paying the admission fee, visitors can play any of the machines on display.[2][6] The oldest machine, from 1879, is a Montague Redgrave Parlor Bagatelle. Contemporary machines include The Addams Family and the Twilight Zone. The museum also has a transparent pinball machine from 1976 that was built by Schiess and Wade Krause. It is based on the Gottlieb "Surf Champ" game.[7] One of the most valued pieces in the collection is a 1930s-era Art Deco machine called the Bally Bumper. The machine was seized by police in Oakland during Prohibition.[1] The museum's collection has also been displayed at San Francisco International Airport.[4]

Panorama of Pacific Pinball Museum


  1. ^ a b c d Wright, Andy (16 July 2011). "Pacific Pinball Museum". New York Times. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Khalil, Laura. "Pacific Pinball Museum Scores High Marks". Quest. KQED. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  3. ^ SF Bay Area's Pacific Pinball Museum, 19 July 2011 by David Pescovitz, BoingBoing
  4. ^ a b c Kos, Eric J. (19 November 2009). "Pacific Pinball Museum Opens". Alameda Sun. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Santi, Dave. "PACIFIC PINBALL MUSEUM". Pinball News. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Northern California. Heathrow, Florida: AAA Publishing. 2012. p. 43. 
  7. ^

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